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Is an iPad VPN as good as a desktop VPN?

Is an iPad VPN as good as a desktop VPN?
(Image credit: DenPhotos/Shutterstock)

Most traffic came from desktops and laptops for the first decades of the internet’s existence, but iPads and other mobile devices are now just as good as PCs when it comes to internet browsing. Of course, that also means these devices are communicating more sensitive information than ever before.

Desktop VPNs still hold the largest market share, but iPad VPN services now offer a similar set of features for the smaller screen. While many can’t quite match the depth of some desktop apps, they still offer a critical layer of security for iPad users.

In this article, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between iPad and desktop VPNs. Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best VPN for an in-depth comparison of the top providers.

Similarities between iPad and desktop VPNs

iPad and desktop VPNs generally work in the same way, giving users access to the same encryption, the same servers, and a similar set of features. You can use a VPN on your iPad for the same reasons that you would use one on your computer: streaming regionally blocked content, securing your connection on public Wi-Fi, avoiding marketing trackers, etc.

Basically, you’ll know what to expect from a VPN app on your iPad if you’ve ever used one on your desktop. While there are a few notable differences, most users will have a similar experience with their VPN regardless of the platform that they’re using.

Limitations of VPNs on iPad

Even though most VPN apps have almost the same set of features on iPad that are on desktop, there are important limitations to be aware of. First, mobile apps sometimes get less attention from the development team. This could result in a clunky interface, poor touch screen optimization, and other issues.

Furthermore, Apple puts certain limits on App Store apps that don’t apply to programs distributed on Google Play or some other app marketplaces, and therefore desktop clients and Android apps typically offer a wider range of tools. For example, iOS VPNs don’t support split tunneling, a feature that is widely available in both desktop and Android VPN services.

Are iPad VPNs still worth it?

Despite the limitations of VPNs on iPad and other iOS devices, iOS users can still get a great deal of utility out of a reliable VPN. The core functionality is unchanged from desktop to mobile, and the best mobile VPN can offer an experience that’s nearly identical to its corresponding desktop clients.

With more mobile users turning to VPNs every year, it’s no surprise that providers are starting to invest more heavily in their apps. There’s already an incredible selection of VPNs on the App Store, and we expect even more to pop up in the future.

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